Steam’s parent company Valve announced a new revenue split for its online video game marketplace late Friday afternoon, with the change to its distribution agreement giving developers more money as the amount increases. unit sales. Typically Valve takes around 30 percent of all game sales on Steam, with a few exceptions for smaller developer games in its Steam Direct program. That will continue to be the case for the first $ 10 million in sales a game maker or publisher earns. For all sales between $ 10 million and $ 50 million, the split reaches 25 percent. And for every sale after the initial $ 50 million, Steam will have just a 20 percent cut.
“The value of a large network like Steam has many benefits that are contributed and shared by all participants. “Finding the right balance to reflect those contributions is a delicate but important factor in a well-functioning network,” the company wrote in a statement on the Steam Community page. “It has always been apparent that successful games and their large audiences have a material impact on those network effects, so ensuring that Steam recognizes and remains an attractive platform for those games is an important goal for all participants in the game. net”. Valve is also allowing developers to be more transparent about game sales with an update to the confidentiality clause of their agreement.
This updated deal marks the most substantial change to Steam’s financial terms in the store’s 15-year history, and it seems clearly designed to entice more developers to stick around, rather than self-launching games or going with the growing number. of competing online game dealers. .
Valve is facing increasing competition from large publishers and competing game stores.
Steam became the dominant platform for PC gaming in the last decade, mainly by loosening restrictions on accessing its platform and becoming, from the very beginning, the primary destination for PC gamers to collect and release titles, all of it. this is done from a single piece of software. In 2017, Valve received $ 4.3 billion in revenue from Steam alone, not counting microtransactions and downloadable content, according to gaming analyst Steam Spy.
But over the years, large game developers and publishers have created their own distribution channels to more directly control aspects of their businesses, such as copyright restrictions, refunds, and game updates, as well as to avoid clipping. revenue that Steam would take. Blizzard, EA, Epic, and Ubisoft now operate their own launchers, and Valve has seen their influence start to wane.
Additionally, as Valve found itself embroiled in controversy over its increasingly lax stance on allowing violent, hateful, and other questionable content on its platform, several smaller and more curated game distributors like Itchio have become popular alternatives. especially for the big names. indie game makers. Additionally, the gaming chat platform Discord, perhaps the only company with the social infrastructure to rival Steam, recently launched its own Steam competitor, posing another existential threat to Valve’s market dominance.
All of this adds up to a precarious situation for Steam. Although it remains the largest market for PC games, with over 150 million registered users, the company clearly recognizes that it cannot rest on its laurels. Valve began borrowing some social features from Discord to prevent its built-in social advantage from slipping away, and it plans to launch its store in China, the world’s largest gaming market, shortly. However, changing Steam’s revenue split to be more generous to developers is certainly a highly effective strategy to keep developers happy and active.